Ben is TORQ's research specialist. He holds a 1st class honours degree in Sports Science and is currently completing the highly regarded IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition.
At TORQ, we formulate our products with precision and are constantly rooting through the latest research to ensure that no stone is left unturned with regard to functionality. TORQ also have an unrivalled reputaion for delivering clean, natural products, free from artificial ingredients...
It is our firm conviction that there is not a single ingredient derived from an artificial source (that couldn't also be sourced naturally) which could be attributed to better performance in an athlete - with the exception of some on the WADA banned substances list of course! It is also our deep and strong philosophy that many artificial ingredients will actually interfere with performance, because the human body is not designed to deal with them. This is one of the reasons why TORQ has such a solid reputation for not using artificial sweeteners. We also don't use colours, not even natural ones, because under exercise stress, the digestive system is under significant strain, so why make the process harder by including unnecessary ingredients? If you're going to add a colour to a food, of course we think it should be a natural one, but the first question we ask ourselves is 'does this ingredient need to be in there'? If the answer's 'no', we leave it out.
To ensure that our products stay at the cutting edge of the performance nutrition arena, we keep on top of the current sports science literature, meticulously searching for new studies that may have come to light. All of the research we use to influence our processes is completely independent of TORQ and is drawn from reputable Sports Science journals, where every paper submitted for publication is peer reviewed by a panel of experts to ensure that it is a true study and legitimate in every way.
Our energy products use a blend of two types of carbohydrate combined together:
1) Fructose (fruit sugar essentially)
2) Maltodextrin (a long-chain glucose derivative made from maize)
Combining these two natural ingredients in the correct ratios delivers energy significantly (about 40%) better than using solely glucose based products (of which there are many). Glucose comes hidden in many forms, namely glucose (of course), maltodextrin, dextrose and it's hidden in sucrose. Here’s a summary of the research behind why combining Maltodextrin with Fructose is so effective:
Carbohydrate is the critical fuel source during intense exercise and is essential during bouts of endurance training and competition. The more carbohydrate that is oxidized (burnt) the better your performance, as demonstrated by a mountain of peer reviewed independent research studies. The body has a very limited endogenous supply of carbohydrate, stored in the muscles and liver, and when fully topped up, it equates to around 2000kcal (500grams of carbohydrate). This is a relatively limited pool of carbohydrate and during high intensity exercise it can be completely depleted in as little as an hour. This combined with a limited capacity to absorb carbohydrate into the blood stream in the intestine means that as an endurance athlete competing or training for more than a couple of hours, you are essentially fighting a losing battle. No matter how well you are able to fuel with carbohydrate, you will eventually run out, particularly when completing endurance exercise longer than a couple of hours in duration. As a result, the more carbohydrate that can be absorbed during exercise, the greater the oxidation rate (burning) of exogenous carbohydrate, which reduces the reliance on the body’s endogenous stores. This results in a performance improvement by delaying the dreaded ‘bonk’ (the name given to the phenomenon of running out of carbohydrate) and subsequent catastrophic drop in performance!
For a number of years the maximum oxidation rate of carbohydrate was thought to be around 1gram of carbohydrate per minute (60grams of carbohydrate per hour) when using a single form of carbohydrate, such as maltodextrin or glucose. This was limited by the speed at which a single form of carbohydrate could be absorbed by the body. Once the intestinal transporter that absorbs the carbohydrate from the intestine, driving it into the blood become’s saturated, any additional carbohydrate simply ends up sat on the stomach, which is the last thing you want when exercising, because this can result in gastrointestinal upset. However more recently a growing body of research has suggested greater oxidation rates of carbohydrate are possible if glucose derivatives and fructose are mixed.
A study by Wallis et al. in 2005 (as quoted on our gel pack) turned conventional wisdom on its head and sparked a change in the recommendations for fuelling in endurance exercise. Wallis and his research group showed that by combining maltodextrin with fructose at a 2:1 ratio, carbohydrate oxidation rates increased by a massive 40% and allowed up to 90grams of carbohydrate to be absorbed into the system! This was due to fructose and maltodextrin using different intestinal transporters, which meant that the two carbohydrates could be absorbed independently of each other, allowing a faster absorption and a higher oxidation rate of carbohydrate. The study had massive implications as a 40% increase in exogenous carbohydrate oxidisation naturally would have big impacts on performance by reducing the reliance on the body’s limited endogenous stores.
Since the study by Wallis et al. (2005) there has been a great deal of further research into the use of multiple transportable carbohydrates (i.e. maltodextrin and fructose) and a number of significant benefits to using this formulation have come to light.
Currell and Jeukendrup (2008) completed one of the first studies to directly look at the effect of a glucose:fructose, 2:1 beverage on performance. Using a simulated 1hour time trial in the lab after 120 minute of cycling exercise at 55% of their VO2max, participants consumed either a placebo (flavoured water), glucose or a glucose:fructose drink. The results of the study were simply astounding. Performance improved by 8% as a result of using two forms of carbohydrate, which was on top of a 10% improvement in performance from taking on glucose alone! Similarly Triplett et al. 2010 also showed an 8.1% performance improvement due to a higher power output when using glucose:fructose drink during a simulated 100km cycling time trial. Interestingly Triplett did not measure gastrointestinal upset directly, but did report that participants on the glucose:fructose experienced no problems at all whilst many of his participants in the glucose only trial reported problems with their stomachs ‘not emptying the solution’. More recently Rowlands et al. (2012) studied the use of maltodextrin:fructose in a more practical application, using a 2h 30min mountain bike race and high intensity cycling lab test. The results also showed a significant improvement in performance in both the lab and field, with one of the most interesting findings of the study being a significant reduction in gastrointestinal upset as a result of using a maltodextrin:fructose solution.
With Rowland’s et al. (2012) reporting a significant reduction in GI upset as a result of using multiple transportable carbohydrates both in the lab and in the field, these findings could suggest that the carbohydrate solution that participants were taking on during the study was being emptied from the stomach faster and caused less GI distress, as a result of the addition of fructose. An earlier study by Jeukendrup and Moseley (2008) looked at the effect of adding fructose to glucose on gastric emptying speed during a 120min cycling bout at 61% of the participant VO2max. Results from the study suggested that using glucose:fructose increased the rates of gastric emptying and fluid delivery compared with glucose alone. This has quite significant practical implications as the reported faster gastric emptying would result in a faster delivery of water, aiding hydration and a reduced occurrence of stomach upset during exercise.
As an athlete undertaking repeated bouts of training or competition, the speed at which your endogenous stores of carbohydrate can be replenished after exercise can have a significant impact on your subsequent race performance or training session, so the quicker and more substantially these stores can be replenished, the better the performance in the next exercise bout. One of the major limiting factors in the restoration of these carbohydrate stores is the speed of absorption of carbohydrate (Jentjens and Jeukendrup, 2003) which is significantly increased by the use of maltodextrin:fructose.
Recent studies by Wallis et al. 2008 looked at the effect of combined glucose and fructose ingestion on short term recovery of muscle glycogen after exercise. The result of the study showed that both glucose and glucose:fructose elicited similar rates of resynthesis but, didn’t see any detrement to the recovery through the use of fructose and reported re-synthesis rates comparable with the highest previously reported. More recently Decombaz et al. (2011) looked at the effect of malotdextrin:fructose on liver glycogen synthesis, the body’s other major store of carbohydrate, which appears to be replenished before muscle glycogen is. The results showed a massive doubling of carbohydrate storage in the liver through the addition of fructose! This is particularly significant as a reduction in the time taken to replenish the body’s stores of carbohydrate could massively aid subsequent performance or training.
It is important to point out that in order to experience the benefits of using multiple transportable carbohydrates over that of a single form of carbohydrate you need to saturate the transporters in the intestine that absorb the carbohydrate as comprehensively as possible, so to experience the benefits, an intake of 90grams of carbohydrate per hour is recommended. Taking on board only 60 grams per hour will supply a good level of carbohydrate to the blood with an extremely low chance of any gastrointestinal discomfort, but the higher does are where the true benefits of maltodextrin:fructose lie over single carbohydrate forms.
Further to this, a recent review by Jeukendrup (2010) has shown that carbohydrate oxidisation is not related to body weight so an intake of 90grams of carbohydrate per hour can be achievable regardless of body size. This is quite a large volume of carbohydrate and in order to achieve this sort of intake during competition to maximise performance, it is beneficial to practice these sort of intakes during training. There is evidence that the gut is a trainable organ, so to ensure you can cope with the high carbohydrate intake it’s important to practice your fuelling strategy during training as this will ensure come race day you can be confident that you can take sufficient amounts on board.
So what does this all mean for you? All of TORQ's energy products (TORQ energy, TORQ gel and TORQ bar) have been formulated based on the research discussed above, so you can use all of these in combination to satisfy your fuelling needs. The graphic above explains simply how to combine the different TORQ products and further information is available at www.torqfitness.co.uk/torq-fuelling-system. Essentially, regardless of weather conditions, you need to consume the same amount of carbohydrate (ideally 90 grams per hour), but your fluid and electrolyte intake will need to vary. If it's hot, you'll need to drink more and if it's cooler, you won't need to drink so much. Bearing in mind that every 500ml of TORQ energy drink you consume also contains 30 grams of carbohydrate, you can see how the need to consume solid fuel sources (gels and bars) during hotter weather becomes less important. On the other hand, if perspiration rates are low, you won't need to drink so much, so you'll need to eat more to maintain your carbohydrate intake.
Based on the research then, a carbohydrate intake of up to 90grams (3 TORQ Units) per hour in the form of maltodextrin and fructose will aid your performance, reduce the occurrence of stomach upset, speed up the delivery of water and rapidly increase the rate at which your body's carbohydrate stores can be replenished after exercise. It is important to point out that you will only get the full benefits (compared with other energy product brands) through taking in the full 90grams of carbohydrate per hour and in order to comfortably achieve this intake, some individuals may require a certain amount of training of the gut. However as other non maltodextrin:fructose products will only allow a maximum of 60g of carbohydrate to be absorbed per hour, you are losing nothing by starting at 2 TORQ units per hour and due to the nature of TORQ's multi transportable carbohydrate formulation, this will be very light on the stomach and the chance of any form of gastrointestinal distress will be very much reduced. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you start at 2 TORQ units per hour and train yourself up to 3. 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour is more than most individuals tend to consume anyway, so start low and work higher.
For clear and simple advice on how to fuel properly, once again please visit www.torqfitness.co.uk/torq-fuelling-system or please don’t hesitate in contacting us on email@example.com or on local-rate (from landlines) 0844 332 0852 if you have any further questions.
Wallis GA, Rowlands DS, Shaw C, Jentjens RL, Jeukendrup AE. Oxidation of combined ingestion of maltodextrins and fructose during exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005 Mar;37(3):426-32.
Currell K,Jeukendrup AE. Superior endurance performance with ingestion of multiple transportable carbohydrates. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Feb;40(2):275-81.
Triplett D, Doyle JA, Rupp JC, Benardot D. An isocaloric glucose-fructose beverage's effect on simulated 100-km cycling performance compared with a glucose-only beverage. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Apr;20(2):122-31.
Rowlands DS, Swift M, Ros M, Green JG. Composite versus single transportable carbohydrate solution enhances race and laboratory cycling performance.
Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2012 Jun;37(3):425-36. Epub 2012 Apr 3.
Jeukendrup AE, Moseley L. Multiple transportable carbohydrates enhance gastric emptying and fluid delivery. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Feb;20(1):112-21.
Wallis GA, Hulston CJ, Mann CH, Roper HP, Tipton KD, Jeukendrup AE. Postexercise muscle glycogen synthesis with combined glucose and fructose ingestion. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Oct;40(10):1789-94.
Décombaz J, Jentjens R, Ith M, Scheurer E, Buehler T, Jeukendrup A, Boesch C. Fructose and galactose enhance postexercise human liver glycogen synthesis. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Oct;43(10):1964-71.
Jeukendrup AE. Carbohydrate and exercise performance: the role of multiple transportable carbohydrates. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2010 Jul;13(4):452-7
Jentjens R, Jeukendrup A. Determinants of post-exercise glycogen synthesis during short-term recovery. Sports Med. 2003;33(2):117-44.